Thursday 22 January 2015


How do you interpret what willow is made to heal?

Willow is a beautiful and very delicate looking tree. Long slender leaves on thin and extremely flexible stems are its most notable features. Willow usually grows in poor, wet soils almost always lining a water source. Willow roots are notorious for reaching as far as 40 feet and bursting into public water mains to get at the water!
The beautiful arctic blue leaved willow 

My favorite feature of this plant are its beautiful stems that are incredibly versatile due to their flexibility. These amazing trees are favored by bees for making honey, favored by our 'green' artists who find willow sourced charcoal and Sweden's favorite bio-fuel energy sources! Most noteworthy, willow is one of the 4 species used to build the Sukka for the fall feast days of “Sukkot.

Custom Swedish machinery harvesting willow bio-fuel during winter
how a medium-strength willow bark tea should look

Tea made from willow bark is quite bitter, most people cannot enjoy a strong brew. However, more often than not a strong brew is not needed.

This is not normal and indicative to a large issue. Dont suppress pain, fix it. 
Most people on this planet 'push through' or 'tough out' an extraordinary amount of pain every second of everyday. People don't want to hear of 'pain relievers' because they have 'tried everything' and nothing works, the only thing that works for these people is putting yourself into a place where you can manage the pain on your own.

When we see willow we should adore its pain reliving abilities. 

I often make tea for the elders at our local seniors center, on the day that I made them all willow, it was clear that they did not believe what I was saying. This plant is so effective at treating pain and inflammation, most specifically due to arthritis, that a mild tasting cup is often so overwhelming that you fall asleep. That is exactly what happened at the seniors center, they all fell fast asleep! This is because they were living everyday with so much pain that they had trouble sleeping! Not anymore, they and many people around the world adore willow for its amazing pain relieving qualities.

3 Proofs of the medical claims of Willow bark:

Even has extensive ethnoveterinary uses are documented


Most extensively willow bark has been used to treat all forms of arthritis. Willow bark is also used to relieve pain of all types.


The willow family in Latin is salix. All trees and shrubs in this family have salicin present in the bark. In your body salicin is converted to salicylic acid and when Pharma was able to synthetically produce Salicylic acid they found that most people were severely allergic to it so they remedied that by synthetically creating acetyl salicylic acid which is ASA or aspirin, sold as an over the counter pain reliever.

We know isolated salicin (ASA) is a great pain reliever and NSAID, but why do studies show that Salicates have no effect to back up the 'incredibly lofty' and unproven mystical claims of; not only relieving but reversing all types of arthritis, effectiveness as an anti-coagulant and reducing fevers?
In plenty comparative studies done on willow bark vs. isolated salicin, it was noted in every study that the presence of polyphenols and flavanoids in the willow bark is the only way to explain willows effect on arthritis. Salicin alone has no effect on arthritis.

It is important to note that when researching you have to first find out if the study was using a proper extraction method. I found that every single study done that had negative or neutral results was done using improper extraction methods. Which render the study completely invalid.

Lets see what the medical sciences has to say about properly done willow bark extracts and their effect on arthritis.

Oxygen Free Radicals 

These are some of the main contributors to arthritis. Lets go through every Oxygen free radical that has been labelled as a contributor to arthritis and see if our trusty medical sciences has found willow to be of benefit:


Arthritis sufferers should know about a devastating compound called Superoxide. Willow bark extracts show absolutely incredible scavenging activity to Superoxide, drawing it straight out of the joints!

hydroxyl radical: 

Another radical labelled as a contributor to arthritis, destroying not just joint tissue but all epithelial tissues, the hydroxyl radical is scavenged with ease by our overly abundant willow bark!

Hypochlorous Acid:

In recent studies hypochlorous acid (HOCL) has been found the be the culprit for devastating the synoval fluid and therefore, overall cartilage degradation. Who would have thought: willow bark extracts show unrivalled scavenging activity against hypochlorous acid. Which means if you are having willow bark extracts you don’t have to worry about hypochlorous acid destroying your cartilage. Another cause of arthritis totally taken care of by our good friend willow!

Hydrogen Peroxide:

Hydrogen peroxide is another radical that when it gets inside your joints it eats away at them, and needless to day it needs to be taken care of. Well just as you would expect it Willow is one of the best scavengers for this radical. Consumption of willow extracts eliminates Hydrogen Peroxide from ever being a problem.
Wasn’t that fun! We just discovered that willow is the ultimate arthritis-specific oxygen-radical scavenger! Thanks Willow!

Other Causes, factors to consider:

Lipid Perioxidation:

Another factor that cannot be over looked in the development of arthritis is something called Lipid Perioxidation (MDA). The level of MDA in arthritis sufferers is substantially higher. You will be comforted to know that willow is a surefire way to suppress MDA. Yet another major contributor to arthritis taken care of. 

Let me reinstate to you that these harmful radicals and degrading processes are huge problems solved with deadly accuracy by willow. In other words, it is not a minor help, it is a major help, unrivaled even in the natural realm.

Neutrophilic Cells:

One of the biggest threats our body has – as far as arthritis is concerned – are neutrophilic cells (type of white blood cell). We know that they concentrate in arthritis sufferer's joints. They simply excrete enzymes that are like acid to your joints.When the joint is suffering by infection, physically damaging it or simply by ageing these cells infiltrate your joints at an alarming rate accelerating the rate arthritis progresses.
Neutrophilic cells play such a large role that many reputable institutes are now saying that because of their immunoregulatory qualities they are what drive the autoimmune process that is the cause of Rheumatoid arthritis.

What we need to do it control this influx of neutrophilic cells.

Guess what bark extract perfectly reduces infiltration of neutrophilic cells, Willow bark!


Osteophytes are something people with arthritis are very aware of. They are those protruding parrot-beak-like hunks of bone that stick out seemingly at random. They can be very debilitating. Extensive invivo studies have been done usually with rats and sheep and their findings are beautiful, and come as great news to some of us. Willow bark extracts not only stop the formation of osteophytes but reverse them. 

The complete mechanism of these actions are still unknown but the bottom line still remains: Willow works.

Some relatively minor but important findings to note:

Protection from soft tissue swelling and bone reabsorbtion is very well handled by willow and in their studies inflammatory mediator levels dropped so significantly that I want to scream how happy I am that we have science proving our ancient wisdom!!

Willow is called an antipyretic. It stops fevers by causing the hypothalamus to override an interleukin-induced fever. The body then works to lower body temp. This is the exact mechanism that ibuprofen and Acetaminophen use, but better.

The Doctrine of Signatures:

Our ancients looked at this beautiful herb as one that restores flexibility. This method of interpreting the medicinal use of plants is not redundant, its very different with every plant. It is not always “this plant looks like this body part”

Willow is different from every other tree in that it is extremely flexible. If you look at this signature feature you will find, very easily, what it has been created to heal. If you are becoming stiff and arthritic you look to willow as being the plant that has been created to help heal your arthritis. Then you find a professional to teach you how to use the herb and make extracts. Its. That. Simple.  

How do you interpret what willow is made to heal now?


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